Sunday, November 30, 2014
We have lots of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday season, but none moreso than our sweet NOLA family: our son J, our daughter-in-law K, and our granddaughter V and grandson L, both now six and first-graders in their Spanish immersion school. This year K was out of the country over Thanksgiving, and J drove up with the kids for the holiday. They were here from Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning, and we did lots of the kid/family stuff available in the city. Here’s a photo montage.
We spent much of the day on Monday at the Children’s Museum at the Union Terminal Museum Center. The Children’s Museum is always astonishing to me. Hundreds – maybe thousands – of three to seven-year-olds running about madly and engaging in one pursuit after the next. V and L have seemingly endless energy. They climbed in caves, slid down slides, made simulated meals, shot balls up air pipes, scooped up plastic blocks, splashed in the water, built towers and arches, and did umpteen other enjoyable activities. At the end of the day we saw an IMAX movie on Jerusalem before heading home for Katja’s dinner.
On Tuesday morning Katja took V to the nail salon in Oakley where V had her nails done in shellac (so they’ll last a long time). It was exciting for V and her grandma. Meanwhile, J, L, and I went to the Goodwill and got L some winter clothes to counteract our thirty degree temperatures.
Tuesday afternoon we went to the zoo. L liked the diamond-backed rattlesnake the best; V liked the fennec fox; J admired the alligators; I was partial to the fruit bats. Everyone enjoyed the manatees, the insectarium, the black bear, and the elephants.
On Wednesday we went back to the Museum Center for opening day of the Mummies of the World exhibition. Billed as the world’s largest exhibit of mummies, it was absorbing. They had mummies of cats, rabbits, ancient Egyptians, nineteenth century Hungarians, medical specimens, people who died in bogs or deserts or hot attics, and many others. It was very unique and eerie, and the children were fearless.
After lunch on Wednesday we went over to the Eden Park Overlook. Lots of play on the playground, checking out the ducks and the statues, climbing on rocks and up the ruins of the reservoir. The Romulous and Remus statue was J’s favorite in his childhood, and now it’s his kids’ too.
I guess the children don’t have infinite energy. After five or six hours of running and jumping around, exhaustion sets in. That’s when good dads carry about a hundred and ten pounds of children across the field at the Eden Park reservoir.
We stopped at Target on the way home where J treated each of the kids to their choice of a fancy Lego product. Katja was fascinated with how focused and industrious the children were in working on their respective projects, and how they were able to do their complicated tasks with a minimum of adult assistance.
Sam and Ellie Minkarah and Donna Durham and her daughter Rebekah joined us for Thanksgiving dinner. Donna and Rebekah brought a beautiful poinsettia, and the Minkarahs brought a wonderful piano for the children that gets spread on the floor and plays notes when stepped upon. The children were engrossed.
I helped the children put on their annual three-act play about the first Thanksgiving. V and L chose their own Indian names this year: Princess Bunny and Growling Lion. As pilgrims they starred in their roles as Miles Standish and Priscilla Mullins. The actors took a bow, and the audience was very appreciative.
On Friday we took the children on a snow tubing expedition at the Beach Waterpark. They’d used manufactured snow to create a 400-foot run. V and her dad tubed down the hill for at least an hour while L and I retired to the car and talked about childhood and life.
A product of his Cincinnati upbringing, J is still a Skyline Chili addict, and he is teaching his children about our local cuisine. L prefers a three-way of chili, spaghetti, and beans, while V like the Skyline hot dog in a bun with grated cheese.
Friday night we returned to the zoo for the annual Festival of Lights. It’s a true extravaganza. It must take a hundred thousand hours to set up the entire zoo with strings of lights. The kids had pizza, followed by S’mores, and we were just in time for a truly remarkable holiday puppet show in the darkened amphitheater.
Katja made Swedish pancakes and bacon on Saturday morning to give everyone strength for their two-day journey home.
The children held their last light saber duel as Star Wars battlers.
Then it was time for a family photos and a teary-eyed departure. We talked about doing a new play next year and writing a story book together too. The children are more grownup and more fun every time we see them. Things are quieter at our house, but there’s a lump in my throat from a vacuum that won’t be filled again for some months. Fortunately, we have lots of memories to enjoy.
-Gayle C-L (12-1): Dave, What a beautiful family !! The children have grown up !!! Nice to see... Feels like I was there:)) Glad you all had a great Thanksgiving... Love to all..... G
-Jennifer M (12-1): You did so many things! What a wonderful trip! I look forward to talking soon.